Breakfast Club Blog

Dream, Baby, Dream

As you may know, I am privileged to do school assemblies across the country speaking to all kinds of students. Even when I start driving onto the school campus I begin to feel those “dad emotions” coming up in me. I want to hug every person. I want to spend hours with each of them individually just to hear their story. They’re all–every one of them–amazing kids. We all do what we do because we believe in young adults. They are packed with potential and need someone they respect...Read More

ABC’s of professional, purposeful, and powerful programming practices

These ABC’s are philosophical foundations. They are new and powerful paradigms. Paradigms are like mental models that we all have about the way things should be done in afterschool programs. These ABC’s might challenge the paradigms or mental models that you might carry in your own mind. We challenge you to consider these shifts and the way you may think about how afterschool programs should be. Autonomy Autonomy is the ability to act independently, to be self-governing. Autonomy is ...Read More

Tilling the Soil: Staff Turnover

Corn as high as an elephant’s eye? Why stop there? The seeds are bought. The seller promised a yield surpassing anything ever seen before. Acre upon acre of corn growing much, much higher than an elephant’s eye. The new tractor had been purchased. Much better than the old tractor. And just for show, you bought new work gloves and a some new boots. The rains had been good, the weather fair for growing. The table was set for record yields and hopes were high. So, full of hope, you spre...Read More

Take Cover, and Be Prepared, Here Comes the Rain

I had 30 minutes to kill this morning after eating my standard: oatmeal, fruit, and 2 eggs breakfast. While waiting for my 13 year old to get her lunch together, I decided to see if I could catch up with local news. (Side bar: Being that I am a busy mom, wife, and full-time professional, I’ve had to cut some non-essential activities out. Currently, I’m on a media fast, meaning I read and watch VERY little news. I actually find that I’m a much more peaceful person, but I digress...Read More

GIRLS: A Sneak Peek Into Their World of Aggression

In the past couple of years there has been much talk about females becoming more aggressive and violent. More aggressive? Many people would say that’s an understatement. More violent? Now, that’s not such a clear answer. According to the latest research conducted by the Girls Study Group for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, “available evidence based on arrest, victimization, and self-report data suggests that although girls are currently arrested more ...Read More

From Changing Lives To Saving Lives

For the past fifteen years I’ve had the privilege of working in the afterschool field as a program director, consultant, policymaker and advocate. I’ve met countless people who are making a huge difference. Students are doing better in school, becoming more enthusiastic about learning, developing positive social relationships, experiencing new things and mastering new skills. There’s no question that afterschool programs change lives. Now it’s time to save lives. Just a f...Read More

Don’t Curse in Front of Kids: Improving Staff Development

I’m going to tell you a story, which I hope has something to do with after school. When I was 21, I went to Cameroon, West Africa to teach elementary school. This might have been a bad idea – I’d never taught anyone anything, had a spotty reputation as a babysitter, and was more comfortable with dogs than kids. But, I knew more about kids than about irrigation systems or artificially inseminating cows so it seemed like my best option to get to Africa. I was signed up to teach E...Read More

Stop, Look, and Listen with Your Eyes

A number of years ago, I clipped a cartoon from the daily newspaper to add to my collection of poignant printed reminders that deal with the importance of valuing interpersonal relationships. In the cartoon, a little blond boy of six or seven was looking forlornly at his mother, who was busy ironing the family’s clothing. She appeared to be listening to what he had to say, but her eyes were downcast, concentrating on her chore. In the cartoon callout, the young boy begged, “Listen wi...Read More

After School Programs Need to Keep Improving

I write this post on the heels of spending a day working on the outline of THINK Together’s i3 fund application. Ironically, the Governor is signing AB1130 today which is one of two bills that will make California eligible to compete for Race to the Top Funds (RTTT). The i3 Fund is the companion piece to RTTT in the U.S. Department of Education’s Innovation Fund that Local Educational Agencies’ (LEAs) and non-profit organizations can receive directly. In the i3 guidelines, the ...Read More

Protecting Proposition 49 Funding May Not Protect Providers

The section of California Education Code that establishes the After School Education and Safety (ASES) Program describes its purpose as follows: “…to create incentives for establishing locally driven before and after school enrichment programs… that partner public schools and communities to provide academic and literacy support and safe, constructive alternatives for youth.” The majority of ASES programs operate according to partnership models in which a local education a...Read More